Apple CEO adds his backing to end-to-end encryption and calls for more public awareness
Apple CEO Tim Cook has warned of “dire consequences” if British security services are given greater access to the public’s data.
Cook said that the increasing occurrence of major data breaches taking place show an overwhelming need for data to be protected and encrypted.
“You can just look around and see all the data breaches that are going on. These things are becoming more frequent,” Cook told the Telegraph in an interview to mark the arrival of the iPad Pro in the UK later this week.
Cook also emphasised Apple’s commitment to complete end-to-end encryption in its processes, echoing the increasing calls across the technology industry for such a progression to take place.
“To protect people who use any products, you have to encrypt,” he said. “You can just look around and see all the data breaches that are going on. These things are becoming more frequent.
“They can not only result in privacy breaches but also security issues. We believe very strongly in end to end encryption and no back doors. We don’t think people want us to read their messages. We don’t feel we have the right to read their emails.”
“It’s not the case that encryption is a rare thing that only two or three rich companies own and you can regulate them in some way. Encryption is widely available. It may make someone feel good for a moment but it’s not really of benefit.
“If you halt or weaken encryption, the people that you hurt are not the folks that want to do bad things. It’s the good people. The other people know where to go.”
However, Cook was confident that increased public awareness of the issues surrounding surveillance will help to raise the worries of more and more people and ensure the public is not put at risk.
“When the public gets engaged, the press gets engaged deeply, it will become clear to people what needs to occur. You can’t weaken cryptography,” he said, “You need to strengthen it. You need to stay ahead of the folks that want to break it.”
Cook’s comments come days after Home Secretary Theresa May outlined the proposed Investigatory Powers bill in Parliament.
The proposed bill, dubbed the Snooper’s Charter by critics, will force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to store the details of people’s online activity for a year, under the government’s proposed new spying laws.
The Home Secretary claimed that the new bill would no longer require communications service providers to store Internet traffic from companies abroad, and she insisted it includes “strong” warrant authorisation requirements for authorities wanting to gain access to a user’s detailed Internet browsing history.
Yet despite this government assurance of strict safeguards, including a ban on councils accessing people’s internet records, there remains plenty of highly controversial aspects to the new bill.
Campaigners fear that the legislation will give security services’ carte blanche to hack, bug and spy on people’s online habits, with judicial oversight that is still to be determined.
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